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A New Experience

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  • A New Experience

    Posted by crazywolf

    "Hey Boss, I need to have next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off if you can spare me."
    "Personal reasons."
    "Are you going to another pow wow?"
    "You know I really can't spare you. If you keep taking these days off to explore your personal fantasies, you might want to think about looking for another job."
    "Okay," he went back to work, which to him seemed like a mindless task. He started to daydream about what was comming up, not really paying attention to what he was supposed to be doing, but he could practically do this work in his sleep. It didn't take a lot of skill to stack pallets.

    He went home tired and aching, but not too tired to eat, get cleaned up and continue working on his dance outfit. He was following the vision the manitous showed to him in his dreams. He was going to change, and he was going to do it at the largest pow wow in Florida, Chambers Farms. The fact that his new outfit was almost finished made him work later into the night to get it finished before the pow wow. He was running out of time. His mother had lovingly sewn a set of cape and aprons for the new outfit, and there seemed to be no end to the feathers that had to be tied to finish the outfit. He grit his teeth, put the radio on and worked through the night, sometimes as late as three in the morning. He would then have to wake up at six, eat breakfast and drive to work. Then it was back to stacking the pallets in the cold storage warehouse. This went on through the rest of the week, and into Saturday. He got Sunday off, where he slept for most of the day. He finished his outfit on Wednesday before the pow wow, and Thursday night, he put it on for the first time.

    His room was a little small, and he was putting on things he was not used to wearing. He had been dancing northern traditional, and is switching to fancy dance. He had seen an image of a fancy dancer in one of his dreams, and didn't think anything of it as he continued to work. A month later, he was at a friend's house, an elder he was talking to had the same dream. She saw him wearing that outfit, and told him to start on it. A lot of people made fun of his traditional outfit. No one had shown him how to make it. He did it all himself, not even having any pictures to work from. No one was going to make fun of this outfit, and better yet, no one knew about it, except for five people. That elder, his mother and father, a man responsible for him being in the dance circle in the first place, who later became one of his best friends and an adoptive father, and finally, a friend that showed him how to fancy dance. He let him put his bustles on, so he had some kind of idea of what it would feel like, but this didn't help him much in his room. There was barely enough room to turn around, and things were falling on the floor. He finally got everything on, but he had no mirror, except for a little hand mirror. He checked to make sure the roach was on straight, his friend had let him borrow it for Chambers. It didn't exactly match, and roaches were really too expensive for his budget. He called his mother in, who came in and approved of the outfit. His dad seemed to like it as well, and they stood there and admired it. He was getting tired, so he took his things off and went to bed. He had to go to work in the morning. It was a dirty trick, but his boss held his paycheck until then, just to get him to work.

    He went in and worked, and grabbed his check at quitting time. He walked out of that warehouse, not expecting to ever see it again. He didn't care, he was changing. He climbed into his old van and drove home. He got cleaned up, took a shower, and then packed his van, making sure all of the camping gear was in place, and finally his new outfit. He climbed into that old van, and drove 100 miles that night, getting to Chambers about the time the dancing started. His friends walked up and greeted him.

    "Hey, you gonna dance?"
    "Oh, not tonight, I just got off work, and I am really to tired, so probably tomorrow."

    He hung around the circle, smiling sweetly to himself that everyone is going to be surprised. He had no idea. He went to sleep inside his van, almost too excited to sleep. He thought about dance steps, the songs, and what he would say to his friends. He finally did drift off, the drumbeats echoing in his dreams.

    He woke up a little late the next morning. He parked his van away from other camps. Complete darkness was the preferred environment to sleep in, and the less noise that was around the better. It was also easier to keep his secret a secret. He ate breakfast and started off towards the vendors. Among all of the hides, beads and bells he hoped to find some face paint. And yet, the questions still came.

    "Good morning. Are you going to be dancing today."
    "Sure thing."

    He had made arrangements with one vendor in particular, to get some paint. He had troubles with it. Grease paint would run off with the sweat. He got some earth paint from Crazy Crow, and when it was mixed with baby oil, and you had something semi permanent. It does not wash off for several days, much like a stain. This guy promised him that he would bring in some paint that professional rodeo clowns used. It's not supposed to run off, even with sweat or rain. He found the tent set up at the end of the row.

    "Hey you got my stuff?"
    "Yeah, but I can't figure this out, its not even in your colors."
    "Yeah I know, but its what I want. So how much is it."
    "I told you I owe you a favor, so don't worry about it."
    "So are you going to dance today?"
    "Well, I have kind of messed around, and it's too hot, so I will wait until tonight when it cools off."

    This was actually not far from the truth. In his dry run the other night, it took him one hour to get dressed. This was going to be increased by some time for putting on the face paint. It was already 12 noon, so he was pretty sure he was not going to make the grand entry. Getting dressed is not going to happen in the confines of his van, so the people roaming around would see him and that would ruin the secret. So he would just hang around and wait. He watched the afternoon grand entry, and there were no fancy dancers there. There were four drums, so there would be plenty of singing tonight. It looked like it was going to be a clear day, there was no rain in the forecast until tomorrow morning. The people were starting to file in, it was going to be a big crowd. That did not matter though, all that mattered was the dance. He walked over to get something to eat, an indian taco perhaps. He waited in line for twenty minutes perhaps, and got one. He sat down and tried to enjoy his meal, but people would stop and talk. He finished half of it before it got cold, and then one of his friends came up.
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  • #2
    "Hey how come you aren't dancing?"
    "I was hungry, I guess I felt like that was more important at the time."
    "Ah, c'mon, I know you got your new outfit done. I know you've got to be dieing to try it out."
    "Presentation is everything. I am waiting for tonight."
    "OK, well I will be out there waiting. Then we will see who is the best."
    "This ain't no competition."
    "There is always competition"
    "Ok, whatever."
    "See you later."

    He watched the other fancy dancer walk off. He mentally compared their outfits. He made his bigger, but used less colors, and darker colors. It was contraversial, the lack of geometric patterns, lack of bright neon colors. He knew people would be very critical of his design, but he didn't care. He understood one thing: he had a vision, and that same vision was also seen by an elder. Therefore the vision had to be spiritual in nature. He did not understand the manitous, but whatever it was they wanted him to do, he figured it involved this dancing somehow, so he was going to do what he saw in the vision. He figured if he follows the wishes of the manitous, he would have a good life. Other people's opinions didn't matter.

    As he sat there pondering spiritual matters, he watched flies land on his uneaten food. What was left had gotten cold. He was not hungry anymore, but not totally full either. He left it at that, better to dance on a half empty stomach than be fat, he trashed the remanents, and went to watch the dancing. There were two fancy dancers out in the circle now. One was his friend with his secret, and the other was one he had met before, but only a couple of times. Both danced very well, his friend was not as good perhaps, so he turned his attention to the other. He sat there, watching the moves. This was not a competition pow wow, so they were dancing a very reserved style. He was not learning anything today. He had watched videos of fancy dancing over the past couple of months. They were contests, and even the world championships. He was able to pick up a few moves. He figured on trying to do splits on the honor beats, and doing a few other things.

    Time went by quickly. People came and left, chatting with him. He did not sound very interested in their questions. He just sat there and thought through the dance over and over again. He mentally went through remaking his outfit over and over. Was it made soundly? Were the bustles going to hold up? Sure it was going to look good, but if anything fell apart he would be a laughting stock. He had never made anything like this before in his life, and he finially decided to put his faith in the manitous. The dance session was breaking for camp feed. Everyone was heading for the tables where they had the food set out. The line was quickly getting longer, as it always did at Chambers. He decided it was time to get dressed. He thought about how long it took him to get dressed and undressed, and made a pit stop at the port-a-lets on the way to his van. When he got back there, everything was exactly as he had left it, with the exception of someone sitting there.

    "Hey hey! I have been waiting for a while here."
    "Yeah what for? I have been up there watchin' the dancin'," he smiled.
    "I thought you might like some help getting dressed the first time."
    "Not a bad idea, I need for everything to be perfect. Besides, if you had not seen my vision in the first place, I would have just gone on through with my life being frustrated."
    "I would find it an honor. Besides, I have not seen the finished product yet."
    "Then you will be the first person to... well, besides Mom and Dad."

    She laughed at that, and he unlocked his van. He looked around to make sure no one was watching, and then he spread a blanket out on the ground, and brought out two bustles, and carefully laid them on the blanket. He then retreived a heavy box. It had the rest of his outfit inside.

    "I just hope it survived the trip."
    "Has any of this been saged yet?"
    "Ah... no. Do we have time to do it real quick?"
    "I think so, get your things."

    He went back inside and got a shell with some sage in it, and a fan. He opened the box, and everything was as it should be. He laid everything out on the blanket next to his bustles. He went into the van and put on the red shirt and black shorts he would wear underneath everything. The elder lit the sage, fanning it and smudging him first, and then the things on the blanket, one thing at a time. The elder handed him his moccisans.

    "These look like they were well made."
    "Yeah but I ain't sure how long they will last, and I don't think they fit very well either."
    "It looks like that they will."

    Little did he know, but those moccisans would last him for over 5 years, which is unheard of for someone fancy dancing. The soles were made of heavy belt stock leather, and rubber coated with a product you can get at the hardware store. It helps to keep moisture from wet ground from soaking in, and is also a visable wear indicator. When holes wore through the coating, it was simply repainted. He wore two pairs of socks inside the moccisans, and started to put on his goats. Everything he made for his dance outfit, he made durable and easy for him to maintain. The goats are black, which is unusual for fancy dancing, and have a canvas liner that unzips, so that it can be throwin into the wash when it gets dirty. He wrapped ace bandages around the tops of the goats, and tied on some colorful garters to hide them. He bought a fingerwoven sash and arm and leg garter set from a woman who was known for this craft on the pow wow trail. He saw her weaving the sash with his colors, and put the money down for her to finish it. She said she would make the garters at no extra charge. He put on his dance bells. These were large nickel plated sleighbells. He danced with them for a few pow wows as a traditional dancer, to try them out and make sure they would not fall apart. These were unusual in that the fancy dancers usually use the sheep bells, and they are placed on the side of the legs. These bells went all the way around his legs, and it's a mistake he would find out about when he would start to do tricks like dropping to his knees.

    He took the aprons and side tabs his mother had made for him and took them off the hangers. The elder stayed with him and helped wherever possible. He tied these around his waist, and then tied the sash to finish off the bottom of his outfit. He pulled the yoke over his head, and then looked for his choker. He almost thought he forgot and left it with his old outfit, but he finally found it underneath some other things in his box.

    "I think this choker will be the only thing that I really carry with me from traditional dancing. I have to, it has my medicine on it. This little bear here and these three beads were given to me adopted father that took me into the circle for the first time. He told me to wear them when I dance everytime, so that he can be with me everytime. I wish he were here. And this little bag here was given to me by a friend, he was the first person I ever sweat with, and also sang on his drum. I also wish he were here."

    He tied the choker on and tested the knot to make sure it would not come out. Then he looked down at his bustles. 'Here goes nothin,' he thought to himself. There was a small dog chain that held the two bustles together as they sat nestled in each other. There was a shower curtain ring holding the ends of the chain, and this was handy for carrying the pair together, and also hanging them on a wall for storage. He took the chain off and picked up the neck bustle. There were a couple of silk scarves tied together, and strung through the bottom holes on the back board, then looped through the front of the back board and through the top holes. He slid his arms through the loops and put the bustle on like a backpack, then grabbed the ends of the scarves and tied them around his neck. He tilted his shoulders and rocked the bustle back and forth, the surveyors flagging tape rustling as he did so. He didn't care too much for the sound, and he would change it with something else on his next set of bustles. He picked up the back bustle and tied it on. It would be held on with four leather thongs tied around his waist. He had tried a belt, but for some reason he could not keep the bustle straight. The leather thongs were invisable, strong and replacable. He shook the back bustle and tilted his back to see if the two bustles would catch on each other. There was always clearance, so he was good to go. He picked up the roach his friend loaned to him, and tied it on around his chin. There was a string that went through the tail. This would come around the back of his head, under the ears and through the chin strap, and back around the neck. This cinched everything tight, so the roach would not come off no matter how hard he rocked his head.

    He was almost done, and the emcee was only calling first call for the dancers. He grabbed his arm bustles, which were tied around his arms with leather thongs. He would find out these would be uncomfortable, and he had already planned on buying and modifying some dog collars to hold these on. He tied the arm garters on over the thongs to hide them, and finally the cuffs. He put these on, and tied them, and then tied scarves on to hide the knots. He had one last thing in his box, a pair of fans. He does not know why he chose to dance with a pair of fans, but they are what he and the elder saw in his vision, so they were made with that in mind.

    "Well how do I look"
    "We have to paint your face"
    He grabbed one of his camp chairs, and turned it sideways, and then grabbed the paint he got from the vendor earlier that day and handed it to her. Then he got a sock from his bag, and some baby powder, and she powdered his face, being careful to not get any of the white powder on the black outfit. He then sat down, being mindful of the bustle and leaned forward. She painted his face to match his outfit, black, with a red mask over his eyes and one red thunderbold on his right cheek. It took her a half an hour to paint his face, and his back was starting to hurt from sitting in this position for so long, but he didn't mind. It was going to be much different soon, with little time for sitting. She finished it off by reapplying the powder to set in the paint.

    "Now you look like you are ready to do something."
    She hesitated for a moment, as last call rang out over the P. A. "Let's just stick with dancing for right now."

    He stood up and shook everything up, to make sure there was nothing loose, and began to walk towards the circle. At first it was dark, as he walked away from the light of his campsite, and he passed by only a couple of people. The light was not good and they could not really see him that well. So they walked on without stopping. Then he came into the back row of vendors, and there was more light there. There was also lots of people. Most of the spectators that were milling around waiting for the dancing to start were used to seeing new faces all of the time, but the vendors that saw him would gawk and awe as he walked by. They would stop talking in mid-sentence and gasp when they saw him. He did not stop nor say anything to anyone. He didn't even smile, his goal was the circle.

    The dancers had already been lined up by the arena director, and he knew his place among the other fancy dancers that were there. His friend was not there, he found out later than he had to leave on an emergency. The other dancers made room for him, none of them recognizing who this was, and let him be the first one behind the grassdancers. None of them spoke to him, but he could feel the respect that was in the air. He stood there and waited for what seemed like an eternity, but was only half a minute before the drum began to play for grand entry. He stood there taking everything in. His outfit was so much more different than the other guys' outfits. Their's were bright and flashy, using a lot of white and neon colors. His had a lot of black with red the only other color. He was starting to doubt his dream.

    Then the drum started to play. All attention focused to the circle as the veterans filed in, followed by the royalty. The emcee was calling off the names of the color guard, the head staff and the princesses, and he still had not come to the east gate. There were so many dancers in line, he could not see the east gate. The traditional dancers started to dance in. He knew half of them, and he could see a couple, and almost saw looks of disappointment because he was not there. Little did they know that he had changed. The emcee called off the straight dancers as they entered, and then the grass dancers. Twenty minutes must have passed by before he looked the arena director in the eye. He knew him, but the arena director didn't seem to recognize him. He picked up the pace, and started dancing. He stuck to the basic steps, and at first, he missed a few beats. This was a totally different style than he was used to dancing, and he had never even practiced it. Once he made it one quarter of the way aorund the circle though, he started to fall into it, and after half way around, he was dancing like a natural. He ws still only dancing basic steps. The circle was getting crowded, and there was no room to pull off the really fancy moves. He would have to wait until they called out the fancy dancers for a special. The ladies buckskin dancers were still filing in, so for now he had to keep dancing. He was listening to the songs in a different way. Instead of stepping twice with each foot, he was stepping once. It was more like running, sideways. He had seen a sideways step on a video where you crossed your steps. It looked very intricate, and was easy to do in crowds. He found it an easy step to do, and he found out later that it was called the grapevine.
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    • #3
      He completed one full circle, and the fancy shawl dancers were just starting to come in. He had been dancing for fifteen minutes without stopping, and he was out of shape, so he was getting pretty tired. He would dance another full circle before the drum would stop, and that put him right at the east gate. It was all that he could do to stand after the drum stopped. He looked about at all of the dancers that stook inside the circle. The emcee announced that there were over 250 registered dancers present, which was more than had ever seen at a pow wow before. The other fancy dancers were giving him some space, that was good for him, because he was still not quite used to the bustles hanging out behind him. After the emcee's announcements, a spiritual leader came out and said a prayer. He was long winded, and some of the other dancers were getting a little tired, shifting their weight from one foot to the other.

      One of the other fancy dancers leaned over and whispered to him, "Hey, I ain't seen you around here before."

      "Yeah this is my first pow wow here," he whispered back and snickered to himself. He was getting extremely tired and the spiritual leader was still reciting his prayer. He tried shifting his weight from one foot to the next like the other dancers, but it only helped a little. Finally the prayer was over, and the drum started to play a memorial song. He still had to stand still, but at least he knew when the end was comming. He continued shifting his weight, and the sleigh bells would ring with his every movement. He started to feel like the center of attention, but not in a good way. He could feel the eyes of the others scrutinizing him, and he was wondering if he was ruining his chances at being a fancy dancer at all. The memorial song ended, and they started a Veteran's song. Here, he could dance in place, while the veterans filed out. They kept the song short, and when it was done, he started to walk towards the exit. He knew what was next, round dancing. He didn't want to round dance, he never liked it.

      No one at all was recognizing him, and he smiled to himself. He did his best to ignore the round dancing going on. He walked around looking at all of the people there, waiting for the first set of intertribals to start. There were five drums, and each one was going to have their turn at the round dance. It was going to be some time. He found the elder that helped him get dressed.

      "I come all the way over here and get dressed up like this and all they play is round dances."
      "Don't worry, you will get your chance."

      He finally walked back to the circle and found a place to sit. The benches around the circle were just boards on short posts, and this was easier to sit on than his camp chair, but not as comfortable. 'This is going to take some getting used to,' he thought as he watched the round dances. He could not tell if people were paying attention to him or not, and no one approached him. He figured that no one knew who he was so they were standing back to find out who this strange fancy dancer was. He sat there pondering this for a long time, and lost his concentration on the dance. He reminisced about the grand entry, and went through his dance steps, and was already thinking about improvements to his outfit. He was so lost in thought, that he did not even see that the intertribals had started up until the emcee spoke up.

      He did not know how long the drum had been playing, it didn't matter. What mattered now was he was here to fancy dance. He stood up and aranged his things, held his fans in is hands, and got to the business of dancing. He cannot remember a feeling like he was experiencing now. He felt free, and larger than life. The more he dianced, the more his feet fell in time with the drum. He had more room in the circle now, and he started to try some of the more intricate moves. He did jumps and spins, would hop on one foot and turn in a circle, or bend over to the point of loosing his balance, but staying on his feet. He found out that the bustles hangign out in the back added balance to his stance. When standing still he leaned forward slightly to compensate for that. He listened for the honor beats, and would split his legs as far as he could in time with them. He listened for the end of the songs, and stop when the drum stopped. The drum didn't always telegraph the ending, but he knew the songs well enough that he could stop if the drum stopped.

      He walked back out to take a break. The drums were getting water and coffee, and the emcee was announcing the pow wow schedule. He walked about, looking around at all of the vendors and dancers. Still, no one approached him or spoke to him. The elder that helped him get dressed had mysteriously disappeared. 'Maybe she went to bed early,' he thought. The drums rested for about fifteen minutes before starting to play again, and when they did, he was among the first to go back in. This was going to be a long set of intertribals, and he was out there dancing and forgetting about his job, his problems, and was just out there flying. He noticed the other fancy dancers that were there, and most of them were just walking the circle, socializing and laughing. He was more concerned with dancing. In one song, he was geting crowded in by the other dancers, and the honor beats were comming up. He broke into a sprint through an opening in the crowd, his footfalls matching time with the drum. The honor beats were nearing, he was just about clear of the crowd, and he could practically count down to the honor beats, five, four, three... His foot slipped underneath something. He was a quick thinker, and this seemed to be a root. He could not stop, his momentum would have caused him to trip. Instead, he changed direction and went into a spin. The beats continued... two, one. The honor beats were played, and he was still spinning. He tried to split, but his efforts turned into something that was more of a jump, so he spun mid air for a complete turn, and landed in time for the next honor beat. He jumped again, and finished the honor beats.

      'Wow, that was cool,' he thought as he temporarily lost his stride. He thought he was on the ground, but instead was still dancing. 'I wonder if that can be done again.' That song finished, and another drum picked up the pace. This was a northern drum, and it played faster. He found it easier to dance to this drum. The higher note of the singers drove him that much harder, and he eagerly waited for the honor beats. They were not played in the first start of the song, and that was common. He started to dance harder, and was getting impatient for them now. 'Here they come.' He started to spin again, this time five beats before the honor, and he jumped on each one, doing a complete turn in the air on each beat. His success brought him a lot of joy and pride, and he started to dance that much harder. The other fancy dancers left the circle, but he didn't notice. He was a little busy being somplace else.

      That was the last song of the intertribals. The dancers filed out, and the emcee started to announce the catagory dances. The northern traditional were the first to come out, and the song was sung by the drum that had just finished. He sat there and watched his friends go out and do a sneak up. He loved the sneak up, it sounded so much more different than the rest of the songs. He wished that this drum would play a ruffle song for the fancy dancers. He thought that they would be the last to go out, but the crowd had been thinning, so the arena director called for the fancy dancers to come out next. He was still out of breath from his last dance, and his outfit was thoroughlly soaked with sweat. The drum that was called out to play was southern, and there were four other dancers comming out to dance. Little did he know, they were going to play two songs for them, and both of them were going to be fast. He came out, feeling like he would be ready for anything.

      The first song was a straight song, and it started out slow enough, almost a crow hop. He liked the pace, it let him do things the faster beats would not. Then the pace picked up. He found it easy enough to keep up, and then it became lightning quick. Fancy moves were out of the question now. It seemed like all he could do was dance in place, and keep time with the drum. The beat was relentless, and he felt like he had to do something, so he spun. It was fast, the world became a blur. As quickly as it seemed the song started, it stopped. He overstepped the drum, and blew the ending. He felt like he was defeated, even though this was not competition. The northern drum must have seen the look in his face, they had been watching him all night, and they decided to play a ruffle song. They started out with the ruffle, and his heart must have started leaping in his chest with the sound. He started shaking everything, rocking his head and shoulders, holding his arms out and shaking his bells. This is what a ruffle was all about, but there was a suprise comming up for him. They finished the first start of the song, and he stopped in time. They ruffled again, but the next start was slower, a crow hop. Now he could do some really tricky things, he was hopping, skipping and jumping, making foot switches and half spins to every beat. The pace was very tiring, and then it stopped. The ruffle started up again, but when the singers lead into the start, they quit playing the drum and just sang.

      He had seen this on the videos he watched, and started dancing, his feet matching the beats the drum was not giving. He saw for an instant the other dancers seemed lost, and were standing or shaking, but he paid them no attention, the honor beats were comming up. Boom! Boom! Boom! He did his jump spins and started to dance harder as the drum played faster. He was not sure where the ending was comming up though, but the singers telegraphed it by slowing down slightly and then speeding up, He started in a spin, and jumped up and landed in a split on the last beat perfectly. The crowd stood up and started cheering.

      "Now that is how its supposed to be done!" The emcee was shouting and urging the crowd on. "Give it up!" He was exhausted, and had to push himself to his feet. That was the best song he had danced yet. He put his hand into the pocket in his shorts, and retrieved a wad of money he was carrying in case he got hungry. He pulled a twenty out and walked to that northern drum, and put it on the drum.

      "Thanks a lot guys. I have been waiting all night for a song like that." He reached out and shook all of their hands, and then walked out of the circle. They still had six catagories to go, and luckily, he got to sit through all of them. He found a bench to sit on, and watched all of the other catagories. He stood when they called for the ladies' traditional dances, and walked over to the east gate, and danced in place to honor them. He also honored the jingle dress dancers. He was tired, but he didn't care. These were things that were supposed to be done, to show respect. The drums took a break again after they were through with the fancy shawl song.

      Now a few of the dancers were comming up to him and talking. Most of them he didn't know, but a few of them, were his friends. They were surprised when they found out who was beneath all of the feathers and paint. They also liked what they saw, giving him good compliments on his designs and his dancing. This was good for him, because there was going to be a lot of negative criticism in his future, some of it good, and some of it malicious. His friends would join him in the next set of intertribals, and he danced more reserved. The other fancy dancers disappeared. Later he would disappear as well, he did not stay for the closing song, he was too tired, and the things he was wearing were starting to rub his skin raw, and it hurt. He went back to his van, no one followed him there. He unlocked the door, and then just sat for a few minutes. He was extremely tired, it was dark. He lit a lantern and found his box, and the chain for his bustles, and some other things that he needed to put things away properly. He was sweaty, so things would have to be left hanging out to dry. As he took things off, in reverse order of the way he put them on, it almost felt like he was peeling his skin off. He took his roach off, and there was a groove in his chin where the ties were kept tight. He took his bustles off, and again there were marks, around his waist, his shoulders and neck. He hung up the cape and aprons. He took off the goats, and there were blisters under the bells and ace bandages. He took his moccisans off, and strangly, his feet were the only parts of him that were not sore. Something else surprised him, and that was he could still feel the parts of his outfit, even after he took them off. That feeling would be with him for the rest of his life. The outfit was now part of him, forever it seemed.
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      • #4
        He put his things inside the van, and grabbed a towel and some soap, and went to the showers. It was chilly, and they only had cold water. He didn't care, he needed to wash the off the face paint and the sweat. He was tired, and the shower felt good even though it was ice cold. He scrubbed his face and could see the paint comming off on his wash cloth, but it felt like it was just smearing. He used more soap and scrubbed some more. The groove in his chin was sore and he could not take it anymore, so he gave up and rinsed off. He went back to his van and did find that he got most of it off. He ate a snack and then went to bed.

        His dreams were good that night, but he would not remember them when he woke up. He sat in bed, remembering the previous night. He remembered the dances, the ruffle song, and the joy all of it brought to him. He also rememberd the move that almost tripped him up. He decided to call it his Cheater move. At later pow wows, he would find it elusive to duplicate. The song and the timing had to be just right or it would not work, and after he got more experience he would be able to tell if a song was going to let it work or not. He got up and found out that he was pretty sore. As soon as he stood up his legs started to cramp. He had never danced so hard in his life. All of the places where something was tied on were sore, especially where the ace bandages were wrapped around his calves. There were several blisters there, and they would drive him mad when he went back to work. The sores would itch with no relief in sight.

        He ate his favorite pow wow breakfast, oatmeal, and then locked up his van. He planned on leaving early, he was tired and going home to rest before he went back to work. He decided to walk out among the vendors to see if there was anything he missed. He met with several of his friends along the way, and the conversation was almost always the same.

        "Hey you didn't dance last night!"
        "Oh, I was out there."
        "No you couldn't have been unless..." their voice would trail off when they saw the remanents of the red and black face paint. "Oh my god! That was you out there!" He just smiled and walked on, because the people were usually left speechless when they found out who it was.

        He walked out to the circle, and people were having a blanket trade of sorts. He saw a lot of things, but nothhing he really wanted, so he passed it up, saying hi to people as he walked by. He went to the different vendors that he had gotten various things from, and they all marked approval of what he had done. He felt a pride that he had never felt on the pow wow trail before. He felt like he had accomplished something, and discovered a dance style that he would carry for the rest of his life. The day was pleasant, and it seemed the spirits also marked approval by holding off the predicted morning rain so he could pack. Going home, he felt a little sad. There was one more pow wow in the season, and he would have to wait several months before it would pick up again in the fall. It seemed a little unfair, to be given this gift and then not being able to use it for some time. But that is the way life would be from now on, and for now, it was back to work.
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